Teach the Earth > Metacognition > Strategies for Teaching Metacognition > Critical Reading of Geoscience Literature

A scholarly approach to critical reading of geoscience literature

Developed by: Bill Rose; Jen Sablock; Francis Jones; Dave Mogk; Laura Wenk; Linda L. Davis
Developed at the 2008 workshop, The Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience.

For population: Upper level geoscience majors committed to working in the discipline and are therefore interested in the research aspect (writing well is inherent in this group)

Description of the tactic:
An active reading exercise in which a set of self-monitoring questions are explicitly delivered and modeled actively during and after the process. This would be repeated throughout the term to provide opportunity for improvement.

An example along these lines can be found at: The University of British Columbia, Earth and Ocean Sciences Science Education Initiative

How and why this tactic is particularly useful for the given population:
This models professional behavior and helps develop necessary skills

Example of how the population would use this tactic:
Students are asked to answer these questions given a published article.
Self-regulated thematic set of questions:

Context and motivation:

  • What is the main argument of the paper and why is it significant? Why did the authors write the paper or do the work in the first place? Why would anyone want to read it?

Data and analysis:

  • What's the evidence?
  • How are the data presented and why?
  • Are the tools or instruments appropriate?
  • Is the data analysis adequate?
  • What are the assumptions and what are the fundamentals that allow you to make these assumptions?

Geological Assessment:

  • Is this consistent with what we know already? Is there something inconsistent with this work?
  • So is this "outlier" important? A new discovery or that someone has screwed up or it's a glitch?
  • Are there alternative hypotheses that could come from the data?
  • Is this possible, probable, or excluded (expected, permissive, doubtful, or excluded).
  • Need to go beyond emulating to the intentional and purposeful
  • What constitutes evidence?

This concept could be further developed to include mapping of critical reading skills into metacognitive terminology.

See more examples of strategies for teaching metacognition